In my home I have been working on being Present, it is actually my One Word this year.
Last year I watched a Ted Talk on the power of play.
Ted Talk-My Year of Saying Yes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmj-azFbpkA
Since then I decided that when my children asked me to play I would always say, Yes.
Today my girls were excited to play imaginary games. They asked me, “Mommy can you play?” I said, “Yes.”
We first played ballet wearing our most colorful socks, next on the list was a birthday party, and last was a fancy tea party using only the fanciest of everything. The fanciest clothes, the fanciest words like extraordinary, and the fanciest cups. The fanciest cups meant they had to go into our china cabinet and get their great grandmother's teacups and plates. Hearing the girls talk in British accents as they drank chamomile tea was extremely heartwarming.
During this time of play my husband went to pick up Chick Fil A. When he got back the girls went to put up the teacups that's when they saw the wedding china. I refer to this china as the wedding china because we received it at our wedding in 2005. We have probably used this china a handful of times. We rarely use it because it is considered special. We save it for special events and mostly holidays, okay mostly Christmas because it takes awhile to clean up china.
As the girls put away the teacups, they started getting out the wedding china plates and saucers, it was at this moment I could feel my heart pounding. The girls hearts were also pounding, but from excitement. “Oh these are so fancy, we should use them for our fancy dinner! Mommy can we use them?”
Did they not realize these plates weren't ordinary, that this dinner was not fancy, and that we were about to have fast food…fast food on China. (Gasp!)
I wanted to tell the girls No and explain to them that these plates were our wedding china reserved for only special dinners, dinners with guests, and dinners on holidays.
Then it dawned on me that this was a special dinner, it was filled with guests who I most love, my husband and children. This dinner was not a holiday, but I believe each day is a gift, one to be cherished and if I believe that I need to live it.
So I explained to my children that these plates and cups are very special and if they wanted to use them we must continue to be super fancy, so Mike poured the unsweet tea into our china cups and put our fast food on our china plates. As we ate in our dining room table, a room also rarely used because it is usually reserved for guests, we pretended to be fancy, but mostly we just giggled and acted silly.
I am learning this year, I have to let go of the love of stuff and let in the love of people, that our lives are worth living when we learn to truly live. We must not value our things over the people we love, instead use what we have and enjoy it. In doing this we can enjoy each moment of the day and get more value out of what we own.
These plates and spontaneous play of two little girls and two adults willing to play along absolutely sparked joy tonight and it was so unexpected.
Now the cleanup, well that’s another story, one told at 9pm when those sweet little girls were sound asleep, but cleaning those plates with my husband and laughing about the night was a joy in itself. One I will make sure I do more often. Letting go of the value of stuff and letting in the value of people has made a world of difference in my home and in my heart.
So I throw out a challenge today, go into your home and find something rarely used that might bring you and your family some joy, trust me it will be worth it.
“Love people. Use things. The opposite never works.”
-The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
The Movie, Minimalism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Co1Iptd4p4
Alana Stanton is a kindergarten and technology specials teacher at Mulberry Elementary in Gwinnett County, Georgia. She has taught several grades over her 14 year career including K-3 literacy special, first grade, second grade, and kindergarten. Alana believes that relationships always come first in the classroom and the classroom should be a place where students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. She currently writes for her blog, More Than A Lesson where she shares the stories of her classroom and her heart.